School: Springfield Township High School in Erdenheim, where she is a senior.
Achievement: For her senior seminar project, Shapiro has organized an art exhibition titled the "5:5 Gallery," in which five Advanced Placement art students from her school and five local artists from outside the school will showcase their work.
"The intention was to let the AP art students display their work before it gets shipped out for AP grading and credit," said Shapiro, 17.
More than 125 works will be displayed, including drawings, photographs, paintings, multimedia installations, ceramics and video art. A collection of Shapiro's charcoal drawings and selections from her graphic-design portfolio will be among the works.
The show, free to the public, will be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday in the technology wing of Springfield Township High School, 1801 E. Paper Mill Rd.
Question: What was the inspiration for this art show?
Answer: The inspiration for this show was the artists in the show. The hard work so many of these 10 artists put into their work is so inspiring in itself.
Q: Why is this artwork so meaningful?
A: All of the work is also self-motivated work, instead of the generic assigned work . . . so I would hope that maybe it inspires people. My goal would be that it's not only an enjoyable time, but a learning and inspirational experience for both students and parents.
Q: Why do you feel it was important to create this exhibition?
A: Many of these artists deserve the exposure and recognition for their work. Also, I felt like it's important for other students who may not be as cultured, in a sense that they don't go to galleries on their free time, to have different mediums of art brought to their school and maybe inspire them.
Q: What do you love about creating art?
A: The thing I enjoy about art is the reward of it at the end of creating something. There are times where creating something can be really soothing and exciting, but then there are the times you really just wish you could be finished with whatever you're working on. But I feel like the best part of it all is to step back and be proud of what you did.
Q: Do you plan to pursue a career in art?
A: Yes . . . or, as any artist would say, I can only hope so. I will be attending University of the Arts in the fall, where I will pursue industrial design and a concentration in art therapy. From there, I can decide which path I would like to follow.
What a teacher says: "Ilyssa Shapiro is one of the most creative students I have worked with," said Mark Kobasz, art teacher at Springfield Township. "She always finds a way to take a project above and beyond the classroom. Her artistic vision allows her to create works of art with a positive and modern eye."
- Erica Lamberg